Tough season for senior rugby team
The late appointment of coaches for two senior teams meant some hard work had to be done to confirm a competitive premier rugby squad and enough players to commit to playing reserves.
Mike (Rambo) Davis gathered a youngish group with some experience in key areas with the front row an achilles heel. They played well in all but one game, pushing all of the other sides hard for 70 minutes but then the lack of a full bench of quality players really told and scores blew out a little — close leads became losses.
Finishing seventh in the competition didn’t do justice to the work and effort put in by Mike and the squad.
The highlight of their season was the challenge by Bush Rugby for the Cowan Cup, played under lights at Eketa¯ huna. Eketa¯ huna rose to the challenge and had to play well to contain and then defeat the near neighbours. A big crowd enjoyed the contest.
Trophy winners: Bruce Walker Cup — Most Improved Back — Jamal Tiatia. Bryan Edmonds Cup — Most Improved Forward — Dan Lockhead. Wayne Satchwell Trophy — 3, 2, 1 points — Sam Shaw. Commercial Hotel Trophy — MVP — Sam Gammie. Bug Ryan Cup — Best On/Off Field — Blair Kerr. Cheety, Doc Lofty Cup — Players’ Player — Sam Gammie.
Tommo Bidois carried on the work of Billy King who got the reserve team restarted in 2017 and fielded a competitive team with new players joining through the season. This team had two highlights within two weeks. The first was winning their division in the Reserves Competition against Gladstone on finals day. The second was challenging Bush Rugby 3rds for the Buckley/O’Brien Cup and winning a real humdinger of a match in front of a great crowd at Pahiatua.
Trophy winners: Best Back — Johnny Osborne. Best Forward — Jason Rankin. Jonathon McKee Cup — Most Improved — Topia Daly.
Club Trophy winners: McKenna Family Trophy — Most Skilled — Caleb Tahua. Paul Bourke Memorial — Most Promising U21 — Daniel Gray. Bennett Family Cup — Overall Contribution to the club — Tommo Bidois. President’s Medal — who Doc reckons did a great job — Tommo Bidois.
To cap a great season and prizegiving, life membership went to Mike Davis who has given long service to the club as player, treasurer, JAB convenor, 3rds coach and premiers coach. The club also recognised the help and support Mike received from Gaye. Roll on next season.